Last night, for the first time, I participated in a reading.
Well, a rehearsal for a reading.
And have to tell you—they're weird!
For the one thing, good writing can be seen as garbage by a poor performance. This is an important point, so let me reiterate that, if you write well and yet suck at reading out loud, no one will enjoy a word of your masterful text. In fact, people will be uncomfortable.
Talk about pressure!
Now, I went to college to be an actor, so reading out loud comes naturally to me. I feel perfectly at ease expressing the emotional parts of a story and adding the proper inflection where it's required, but some people do not share my comfort. To them, just being up in front of a crowd is terrifying enough, never mind actually being forced to read their very private thoughts and feelings! Which, is what good writing is, really. Your thoughts, emotions and soul in written form. So the idea that the speaker is offering themselves up, willingly, to be personally judged, live and in person, is a daunting task.
And I applaud their courage.
Others, who may not share my comfort, still manage to give great performances, by facing their fear and overcoming them. They seem to use their terror as a source of power and they employ it like a seasoned veteran. And when they walk off the stage, they are empowered and leave the audience in a similar state of euphoria.
But what really struck me as odd, is that some writers truly love the english language, while others do not.
I relish words. I always have. The power they have over our thoughts, feelings and memories are a drug to me. I am totally addicted to those well written passages that have the ability to change the world when put to paper. Just can't get enough of them. Works like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Great Gatsby or Cannery Row, they have forever changed who I am. And the world is a better place because of them. So to me, the ultimate homage to these great authors, is try emulate them and create my own fiction. And with each new work I embark on, I try to keep in mind the tremendous responsibility I am taking on. If my words are published, I recognize that I have an obligation to the reader to craft a story using only the best words, in the proper order, for each and every sentence.
And I love every second of it.
But others come across like they think of words as a necessary evil. Something they have to work around, so they can tell their tale. They are constantly battling with themselves and the english language trying to beat it into submission and do what its told. But, as a result, their writing is totally absent of poetry and life. Their words are flat, colorless and bland.
This makes no sense to me.
To me, writing is the most difficult task in the world. It takes decades to become even a serviceable writer and most people give up long before reaching that pinnacle. In fact, few get to the point where they even feel comfortable writing letters, never mind an entire novel. It's just really hard to do!
So why would anyone do it if they hated words?
I just don't get it. Personally, I think they're crazy.
But that's just me.